I have 19 years experience as a consumer health information specialist. I am particularly interested in the clear communication of healthcare-related information to non-specialists.
I originally trained as a nurse, which gives me useful insights into the world of hospitals, clinicians and patients; medical resources and research methods; and clinical settings and scenarios. I then spent nine years playing a key role in the production and development of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, a leading source of independent advice on medicines, and Treatment Notes, its sister publication for patients.
I have spent the last eleven years working as an independent health information specialist and medical writer. My portfolio is broad, ranging from writing and editing medical information for clinicians and pharmacists, through to the interpretation of complex medical information for patients and lay readers. Clients have included the Department of Health, the Patient Information Forum, NHS Trusts, health and social care organisations, pharmaceutical companies, and medical education and communication agencies.
I also specialise in user consultation. This includes:
- collaboration with consumers to help set the scope and direction of what is needed
- focus groups
- online discussions and questionnaires
- diagnostic user-testing of information to ensure readers can read and understand it.
I also work with a team of talented designers, web experts and market research recruiters.
My particular skills include:
- Writing clear and appropriately targeted information for a wide range of audiences, including lay readers and professionals
- Rigorous gathering and assessment of health, scientific and clinical information
- Translation of technical information into clear language for consumers
- Consultation with service users, opinion leaders and stakeholders
- Application of guidelines such as those from Plain English, Information Standard, DISCERN and RNIB
- Qualitative research, including focus groups, online surveys, 1:1 interviews and peer view
- Diagnostic user testing of patient information and instructions, both in print form and online
- Design and layout of information for paper and online
- Collaboration with large teams and organisations.
I am a member of the Patient Information Forum (pifonline.org.uk) – the UK’s association for professionals working in consumer health information.
I am also a reviewer for the British Medical Association’s Patient Information Awards (bma.org.uk).